Don't expect a clear thumbs-up or thumbs-down from Patricia Brunner about the Libyan government's reported $2.7 billion offer to the families of the 270 people killed when Pan Am Flight 103 was blown up by Libyan terrorists in 1988.
As the Town of Boston woman put it, trying to assess the offer involves too many issues, too many "twists and turns."
That point was underscored later Wednesday, when the Libyan government issued a partial denial, claiming it had made no direct offer, but acknowledging that an unofficial offer may have been made.
The Bush administration responded by saying any such offer would not be the "be-all and end-all" to lifting sanctions against Libya.
"It certainly is a step in the right direction," Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said, "but I don't think it resolves the entire issue, resolves all the outstanding issues that have to be dealt with with respect to Libya and Pan Am Flight 103."
"At this point, we just don't know what's going to happen," Patricia Brunner said during a brief telephone interview earlier Wednesday.
Brunner, whose 20-year-old daughter, Colleen, a Hamburg High School graduate, died above the rolling farmlands of Lockerbie, Scotland, quickly rattled off pros and cons of any Libyan offer.
No amount of compensation ever will bring back her daughter, and compensation never has been a big issue for Brunner. She says she feels such compensation would be an admission of guilt that would end the victims' families' never-ending battles for their loved ones' rights.
But if the U.S. government rejects conditions imposed by Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's leader, would that pull the offer off the table?
Brunner raised more questions than she could answer as pieces of information became available about the purported offer, which would amount to $10 million per family.
"I probably would accept the offer, but first I'd have to read everything about it," she said. "There are so many twists and turns to this."
For 13 1/2 years, the families have been looking for some kind of confession from those responsible for the mass murder on Dec. 21, 1988.
"At least it is an admission of guilt," Brunner said of the purported financial offer. "That's what we all want -- justice for our loved ones.
"At this point in my life, I'd really like to have this over," she added. "After almost 14 years, I would really like not to be a part of this anymore. You live with it 24 hours a day. It would be so nice to wake up and say we're not fighting this anymore. I think we deserve that."
Brunner and the other families know all about the tricky political issues surrounding the downing of Flight 103. That includes Gadhafi's attempt to have the United Nations and the United States lift their sanctions against Libya.
"Will our government accept Gadhafi's conditions?" she asked. "I don't believe they will accept them all. Then we're back at square one."
Some families never would agree to any compensation deal, and that's their right, she said.
Brunner always has been proud of the various scholarship funds and tree plantings that have kept her daughter's memory alive. Colleen, a graduate of SS. Peter and Paul School and Hamburg High, was attending Oswego State College when she was killed.
Without being specific, Brunner said she and her surviving children would love to perpetuate that memory through any compensation they receive.
"We would give something in her name, in her honor, in her memory," she said. That would be in keeping with what Colleen -- a very giving person -- would have done, her mother said.
"That's the object, to do what Colleen would do," she said. "I know that would make her happy."e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org